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Watch Me Disappear

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  236 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Tina Humber is 40 and living in the States when a moment of panic about her 10 year-old daughter triggers the memory of her childhood friend, Mandy Baker, who went missing at the same age from the sleepy Cambridgeshire village where they grew up. As Tina replays events and the past comes back to life, she begins to suspect the awful truth of what happened to Mandy. But aft ...more
Published January 1st 2007 by Sceptre (first published November 1st 2006)
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Rebecca McNutt
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Contrary to its many negative reviews, I really enjoyed reading this book. Watch Me Disappear is the gripping story of a woman trying to piece together the mystery of her childhood friend that has become an urban legend of sorts in the small town she grew up in.
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
Watch Me Disappear deals with some heavy topics - but that didn't stop me from being bored for pretty much the entire book. Usually, topics like these lure people in as they try to get into the minds of pedophiles and murderers - not to copy them, but to understand them.
This, however, was just slow, jumpy and had no real journey. The plot pyramid is a cliché, but it's a cliché because it works. I feel the author didn't even attempt to get this book to fit that mould and turned what could have b
Kathleen Hagen
Watch Me Disappear, by Jill Dawson. A.
narrated by Jillie Bond, produced by Isis, downloaded from
This is a very disturbing book, but well written and extremely well narrated by Jillie Bond through Isis. I was able to download it from audible though and not spend the fortune it would have cost to get it from Isis.

Tina, now a marine biologist living in America and married to a
n internist, is suddenly reminded of her past. She is diving in the sea with her husband and ten-year-old daugh
Jul 02, 2012 rated it liked it
In Watch Me Disappear, Tina Humber is a marine biologist who lives in the U.S. who must reencounter a childhood trauma when she returns to her native England. As a child her best friend disappeared one day leaving behind questions and no hope for closure. Returning to her hometown, Tina tries to piece together the few clues she remembers to figure out who abducted her friend decades ago.

Though this novel does have a detective feel, it doesn’t allow for the logic and closure generally afforded to
Jan 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
Iwas underwhelmed by this book. I thought Tina Humber slightly unhinged and I her reasons for this could have been gone into, in more depth. I did like the bits about seahorses. As for the rest of the book, I felt very disappointed.
Sep 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
I had preconceived ideas about the content of this novel and the type of direction the story would take. I expected a journey into the past for the narrator, with some kind of resolution regarding the disappearance of her best friend when they were both ten.

As I read I realised that the novel was in fact concerned with more complex issues, such as how memories are formed, how far we can trust our memories and how can we be sure that what we remember is the sum of what actually happened.

The nar
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Jill Dawson shows spectacular skills,the story though possibly entirely fiction, is hard to believe to have no direct involvement with the writer. Such a narration can only come from within,as Dawson has explored the main character's mind from a very personal perspective.
This is not the story of a missing girl, or a father who's most obvious traits were missed through out his life, or a set of siblings oblivious to the reality of their own surroundings, this infact is the unravelling of an exha
Kirsty Darbyshire
Dec 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-book

For a few pages at the beginning I ummed and ahhed over whether to put this down and put it on the "going straight back to the library" pile. After that I struggled to put it down at all. It was a completely captivating read.

The narrator is Tina, a girl from the Fens who ends up working at a prestigious American university. She's researching seahorses, which isn't really essential to the plot, but the detail adds a depth to the book. Coming home to England for her brother's wedding she digs into

P.D.R. Lindsay
An interesting read this novel. Tricky to follow in places as the MC, Tina, is an epileptic and possibly mildly autistic. She is not always easy to understand.

It is always said that we can never go back, but Tina goes back to her UK home to her brother's wedding. She did not have a happy childhood and her own daughter's behaviour triggers memories. When Tina was eleven her friend vanished; she had supressed this, but now bravely traces those memories and comes to a kind of peace for herself, but
Aug 30, 2016 rated it did not like it
Meaty subject and well-drawn setting thrown away by author's grim determination to have nothing to do with plot of any kind - not even a little bit of something. Consequently, this is an extremely boring book to read. I felt preached at too, there was an agenda but nothing to engage the intellect or emotions. And as always an ending that just couldn't be bothered with itself. This is the second one of hers I've read and it's the same unfocussed meandering endeavour masquerading as experimental a ...more
Nov 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-2013
I'm a huge fan of Jill Dawson and I have quite a liking too for novels based on child disappearance so I thought this would be a match made in heaven. And whilst it was wonderful and far superior to many other things I've read it didn't quite achieve the pinnacles of her previous books for me. Which lead me to think about why and I've come to the conclusion that perhaps I like Dawson best when she is writing about things that I don't have a pre-existing interest in. What I admire is the way she ...more
Lucy Blunden
Feb 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Took me a while to get into this one. I like Jill Dawson's affinity for characters, getting right into their heads and emotional lives but the foggy, cotton-wool perspective was really difficult to wade through.
Once the story really got underway, I began to engage much more.
It was left vague and somehow unfinished (which it had to be) as though we just stepped out of the narrator's mind, as if she had cut us off, the way she had chosen to be for most of her life.
Probably a really good exercise
Nov 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book was interesting and all the imagery the author used was really accurate. At many points in the book you could imagine yourself there. I also really enjoyed her descriptions of growing up and becoming sexually aware and how that feels. That's a taboo for many authors who like to portray children as being totally sexually unaware.

However the story didn't go anywhere. There was no ending and no conclusion to the narrators suspicions which was really disappointing. I would have liked her m
Aug 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that should be better known. It was utterly engrossing - told in flashbacks by a woman now in late 30s/early 40s who is recalling the mysterious disappearance of a childhood friend. A family reunion sparks off further revelations as she realises that the person responsible for her friend's disappearance was closer to home than she had originally allowed herself to think. Creepily atmospheric; great on (troubled) family dynamics; Fenland setting evocative and brooding. Brought back ...more
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant disturbing story about dysfunctional family life, childhood and a friend who goes missing. I was totally engaged from the beginning and couldn't wait to get back to the book every evening! And it raised lots of issues about the sexualisation of girls and the assumptions girls have already internalized by the time they reach adolescence.
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very good. I enjoyed the contrast between the British and American points of view on family secrets, coming-of-age, and other topics. I'm not sure the part about her seahorse research was as well integrated as it might've been with the rest of the narrative. But the whole thing was very readable and enjoyable.
Greta Vercruyce
Jul 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: engels
The novel starts very slowly. A lot of descriptions of the lives of het characters now and in the past. It was not always clear to me what the connection between the stories nore the characters was.
The second part makes the connections between the stories and the characters. From the second part on I liked the novel a lot more.

Zoe Ranson
Jan 30, 2009 rated it liked it
interesting, but slightly uncomfortable story of a woman revisiting her childhood home and confronting her family and the childhood secrets she had tried so hard to distance herself from.
Immersed in the world of marine biology in America she has physically and emotionally separated her existence
John Self
Oct 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Superb meditation on youthful sexuality and all the grey areas it throws up. Well up to the standard of Dawson's earlier books.

Full review (inc a comment from Dawson!!) here:
Dec 29, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: own
Very hard to understand, plus, very boring. A visual book, and creepy one too.
Jul 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Lost interest.... didn't finish it.
Aug 03, 2009 rated it did not like it
I started reading this book, but got bored really quickly. Nothing really drew me in, and because I didn't really care about the character, I started to not really have a clue what was goingon.
Sep 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, 2014
So slow. Main character is as dull as dishwater. Plot had potential but just got dragged down by the pace (or lack thereof) of the story.
Clare Marantelli
Feb 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
This book was good - but I felt that story lines could have been explored in greater depth. Many story lines were started but weren't seen through to a conclusion.
Dec 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Fascinating and unnerving, wonderfully written. I really felt like the narrator was unstable, mentally and emotionally, just as her character was portrayed.
Su Dryden
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always with Jill Dawson, this is a thorough immersion into another life. Like Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood, she shows girlhood without the rose-tint. An uneasy and fascinating read.
Mar 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Fairly slow moving initially, but nonetheless a compelling, haunting and intelligent read.
Lucy Dawson
rated it liked it
Mar 30, 2014
Maya Pillay
rated it really liked it
Apr 11, 2014
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Jill Dawson was born in Durham and grew up in Staffordshire, Essex and Yorkshire. She read American Studies at the University of Nottingham, then took a series of short-term jobs in London before studying for an MA in Writing at Sheffield Hallam University. In 1997 she was the British Council Writing Fellow at Amherst College, Massachussets.

Her writing life began as a poet, her poems being publish
More about Jill Dawson...